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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Another tribe shuffle shakes up the gameplay on Survivor

Hali Ford, Sierra Dawn-Thomas, Debbie Wanner, Tai Trang, Brad Culpepper (Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment)
Hali Ford, Sierra Dawn-Thomas, Debbie Wanner, Tai Trang, Brad Culpepper (Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment)

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Finally we get some Aubry, as after that crazy Tribal she gives some perspective on Aubry’s view of how her game has gone so far. (In short: Not great, Bob.)
  • It’s Tribal shuffle time, and no one seems happier than Aubry when it’s revealed. Least excited? Debbie, who draws nothing and is left without a tribe. Instead of joining a tribe, Debbie goes to Exile Island to join whatever tribe loses a member this week.
  • Brad Culpepper is on a tribe full of women, and also Troyzan, so guess who he immediately likes and dislikes? Yeah, you guessed it. At least Culpepper recognizes that he and Troyzan can’t form a majority and take over their tribe on their own, so they’ll have to deign to talk to some of the women.
  • Sandra and Varner end up on a tribe together with no other allies, and Zeke and Ozzy immediately want to get rid of Sandra. The lynchpin in their plan is Tai, because they somehow want to use him as a decoy without letting him know they’re using him as a decoy. Good plan, nothing could go wrong there.
  • Tai finds an idol. Again. Then after the merge finds another one. The producers couldn’t have bothered to change the idol location on the new tribe once they knew Tai would know where it is? Sure.
  • Exile Island turns out to be a luxury boat filled with food and, eventually, freaking John Cochran. That was unexpected! Unfortunately he’s not there to play, he’s just there to be Debbie’s Survivor strategy guru.
  • The Immunity challenge is brutal, but most brutal might be that if you lose you both go to Tribal and get Debbie as a tribemate. To quote the losing tribe: “Well, that sucked.”
  • Sarah calling Sandra’s game talk “grooming” might be the most astute evaluation of her type of gameplay I’ve heard from another player.
  • Everyone’s biggest mistake when playing with Tai is not understanding that he is very, very susceptible to paranoia and needs constant reassurance. Any conversations you have? He should be right by your side, otherwise he’s going to make a mistake out of panic, like letting Varner in on the secret that they’re voting out Sandra.
  • Sandra’s Tribal strategy: Lay it all out on the line regarding her position, but play it a little bit dumb at the same time. This leaves it wide open for Tai to twist himself into knots over the worry that he’s going home. This he does, by openly naming Ozzy as an alternate vote to everyone and getting Sandra and Varner on his side. This almost allows the tide to turn against Tai completely, but that tide doesn’t extend to the votes and Sandra is voting out. Tai is not very good at Survivor, mostly, and the only thing that’s going to keep him in this game is the two idols in his pocket.
  • If Sandra had pulled that off it would have honestly been a miracle. But damn if I wasn’t rooting for it to happen. You’re still the greatest, Sandra!